If you hate running like I hate running, then you understand the constant argument I have with myself each time I step outside, take that first step, and feel that first accelerated heartbeat that screams, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!”
Over the years, I’ve found I run much better with motivation. As a youngster, it was to burn off energy. As a teen, it was my first real taste at competition and training. As an adult, my motivation has changed to one of some level of self-preservation with a little service mixed in.
David Panjada, of Shawnee, runs because he wants to end cancer. It’s how he rationalizes nearly blowing out his Achilles a couple of times, including just a half-mile into a 7.5-mile leg of his first triathlon – The Topeka Tinman Long Course Triathlon – which is where his motivation has led.
“During my run, I was reminded that while I was in pain for a few hours, there are many who are dealing with chronic pain and suffering as a result of cancer,” Panjada wrote on his fundraising blog afterward. “For many, and their families, they don’t have a choice to simply stop running the race. That reminder encouraged me to keep going.
“I needed to finish. I need to keep training to be able to accomplish my goal of doing well at the Nation’s Triathlon in Washington D.C.”
Panjada, a die-hard Kansas State fan, had no clue this is where his quest for fitness would take him. Initially, it was only a family’s dive into P90X training back in 2010, which then gradually transformed into different workouts and finally triathlon training.
Surfing through the many months of posts on his personal blog, you see the elation of better health, and the pain and discouragement of injuries. But, you also feel the underlying determination that persisted throughout before being sharpened with the realization that tangible service could happen, a worthy fight could take place.
It led to Panjada’s partnership with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Team in Training — the endurance sports team for the LLS.
“In the past two years, I’ve lost two family members to cancer,” Panjada said. “Team in Training is allowing me to do something to honor my aunt, Sheri, and cousin, Erica, and also something to make a difference for thousands of others who have been affected by cancer.
“For these reasons, I’ve joined the team and my training is no longer a personal endeavor. It is a cause to make a difference. This September, provided I can raise the required funds, I will be competing in the Nation’s Triathlon in Washington DC.”
In the time since he began focusing training and fundraising efforts, Panjada also had an uncle recently diagnosed with Stage 2 Lymphoma a few weeks ago.
“I did not know about this when I started this venture, but it definitely makes the effort hit home even more,” Panjada said.
According to his fundraising page, Panjada is at 57% of his $3500 goal. The D.C. event is scheduled for Sept. 9.
You can support Panjada’s cause through donation, and/or come out and meet Panjada on Tuesday night (tonight) at Culver’s by the Legends (1925 Prairie Crossing, Kansas City, KS 66111, (913) 400-7300). From 5-8 p.m., the restaurant is donating 10 percent of all sales to the cause. Panjada will serve meals to patrons during that time.
If you would, please come out for dinner as well as share this message with others via email/message board.